Best way to automate on/off effects

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Post 22 Jun 2021


Here's a situation -
Throughout a hypothetical song there is some Perc Sounds - e.g perhaps stabs, fills, percussive hits.
These sounds all are on their own channels.
Sometimes the sounds occur at the same time, sometimes in a question/answer manner.

More importantly, these sounds are to played dry at times, and other times with an effect - e.g with a reverb, then with a delay, then completely filter etc.

The idea is to have the same sound play, but just with a little variance/interest when it plays again.

The question is, what is the best way to achieve this?
  • Have the effects on sends, and automate the send on/off ?
  • Have the effect on inserts Automate the effect "on/off" switch or dry/wet ?
  • Use midi on the effect device (e.g Midi gate the reverb, midi trig the delay) ?
  • Have the effect on parrellel channel and automate the mute/unmute of effect channels?
  • Bounce the effect to audio and manage is that way?
I kind of feel that whichever way I choose, things start to get messy or limited in someway or another. Im wondering if the community has any experience or thoughts/ideas on the above.

Last edited by deeplink on 22 Jun 2021, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 22 Jun 2021

I have used the first and the last.They are all good! But if what you need is more control, I would work with audio, dupplicate the channels as many times as needed with as many effects as needed. Time consuming and tedious? Defo. Best results? No doubt about it.

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Post 22 Jun 2021

I'd use a combo of sends and inserts. For the time based effects I'd use sends so you don't cut off any decay/feedback/repeats when turning the effect off. You would HAVE to use an insert for the filter effect because it cannot be parallel to the original. In most cases you can automate the bypass switch, but if the sound is playing constantly you may need to use a dry/wet mixer or similar to get a smooth transition with no clicks.
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Post 22 Jun 2021

I incorporate Selig's approach, often with the addition of a multi fx combi (including creative filtering) on the master as well. I find Andrew Russell's double dry/wet RE invaluable.
I have a midi controller setup (Lemur)for all the individual sends which are "pre"activated. I can reset all sends with a script in Lemur. I use Ableton as well so I can create scene based automations. I don't gel well with automation on Reasons mixer natively as I am setup to perform live and automation deactivation/override doesn't suit this approach
I will some times do time based effects on the instrument level with devices setup using a sub mixer sends as I prefer using the matrix than the sequencer. - particularly for the use case OP suggested. I never automate on/off - mainly due to issues with clicks in the past.
It does get complex, developing some systems that work for you is the key. I tend to treat instruments, sends and the master seperately

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